A kinesin-1 variant reveals motor-induced microtubule damage in cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. G. BudaitisKristen J Verhey


Kinesins drive the transport of cellular cargoes as they walk along microtubule tracks, however, recent work has suggested that the physical act of kinesins walking along microtubules can stress the microtubule lattice. Here, we describe a kinesin-1 KIF5C mutant with an increased ability to generate defects in the microtubule lattice as compared to the wild-type motor. Expression of the mutant motor in cultured cells resulted in microtubule breakage and fragmentation, suggesting that kinesin-1 variants with increased damage activity would have been selected against during evolution. The increased ability to damage microtubules is not due to the altered motility properties of the mutant motor as expression of the kinesin-3 motor KIF1A, which has similar single-motor motility properties, also caused increased microtubule pausing, bending, and buckling but not breakage. In cells, motor-induced microtubule breakage could not be prevented by increased a-tubulin K40 acetylation, a post-translational modification known to increase microtubule flexibility. In vitro, lattice damage induced by wild-type KIF5C was repaired by soluble tubulin and resulted in increased rescues and microtubule growth whereas lattice damage induced by the KIF...Continue Reading

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